Danzig – Black Laden Crown (Evilive Records 2017)

After the weak sounding covers record Skeletons I didn’t get my hopes up for this release. The sound is in the same sort of low fi Glenn has been doing ever since 7:77 I Luciferi. The songs are doomy and gloomy, mostly slow to mid tempo pieces.

 

Let’s pause a minute to consider the cover art, wow how awful is this cover? Danzig cover art has been a huge part of what has drawn me to the music, especially the Giger drawing of How the Gods Kill, not to mention the classic skull logo or the medieval look of Circle of Snakes. This time around he has chosen to go for the esthetics of his Verotic comic books. I get that he is big into the comic book world, but this cover is too much on the cartoony side for me personally, bit of a disappointment.

 

The sound is very similar to the Deth Red Saboath album. Lyrically this album is better crafted, maybe not as accessible as earlier, but with better quality… quality might not be the right word…shit… they seem less childish and more of a comprehensive body of work.

 

The guitar is heavily overdriven, I’m thinking a thick fuzz sound, Victor likes himself some natural harmonics, so much so that it sort of gets annoying. The riffs themselves are dark, and heavy, reminiscent of Circle of Snakes and 4p. The high, squeaky fills gets a bit much, for my taste. The drums are once again handled by Joey Castillo, who was the from about 95 up through the touring cycle for I, Luciferi in 03. I can’t really say he makes much of an impact on the album. Drums are hollow-sounding and bass-laden, like they’ve been on every danzig-record since the turn of the century. I guess Glenn played the bass and keyboards himself.

 

The opener, which also happens to be the title track, is a sort of half breed between his past half instrumental openers, like Unendlich or Wotans Procession and earlier heavy numbers; like Thirteen or Angel Blake. It’s a slow, but heavy number. Best of all, it has this classic, easy-to-follow Danzig vocal melody. A truly wicked start to the new disc. Eyes Ripping Fire is not a great song, it’s lacking in power and gets dull and seems to drag out, even though it’s only like four minutes long.

 

Devil on Hwy 9, the teaser and the single, isn’t a very good either. The chorus is nice and infectious, but the main riff is just boring and Victor is slightly too active with his fills. I’m sure this will be killer live though, it just falls flat in a studio version.

 

I’ve listened to this album a bunch of times now, and it doesn’t really stick. It kind of falls flat. I get what he’s trying to do with production but when you know that with today’s technology untrained kids can make great sounding stuff in their bedrooms, this low-fi shit doesn’t cut it. It doesn’t sound retro, it doesn’t sound evil, it just sounds half assed.

 

Being a Danzig-fan is hard around the release of new music, because of Danzigs press rounds, he’s now getting to sound like more of a nutcase than Mustaine and that says a bit. Jeebuz man, Glenn says some crazy shit.

 

Let’s end this with: Established Danzig fan? Yes: Get the record, it’s what you expect and want, but with crap production. No: Go to the first four records for some bluesy stuff, record 5 and 6 for some industrial darkness, 7 and 8 for some truly dark, yet somehow popy, music, wait with Black Laden Crown and Deth Red Sabaoth.

 

Recommended tracks: Devil on Hwy 9, Skulls & Daisies

 

Rating: 3 / 5

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Danzig – Skeletons (Evilive Recors 2015)

I’ve been a huge Danzig fan ever since I heard Static Age sometime in the early nineties. I’ve loved almost everything he’s done. A big part of my fascination has been the imagery, the skulls, demons, devils and darkness has been very appealing to me. I had huge hopes for his covers album, of which he has speaking for quite some time. A covers record is always interesting, as it gives a fan a look at the inspirations and is a nifty little way to discover new music. Metallica has introduced me to a lot of music through their covers, Danzig and Misfits among others.

But this is perhaps one of the worst covers albums I have ever heard. I hate the production, it doesn’t sound gritty, or dark for that matter, to me it just sounds half assed. I can kind of see what he is trying for, but it doesn’t work. The production ruined Death Red Saboath and it ruins Skeletons.

The first song I heard was the Black Sabbath cover, NIB, released as a teaser. I was shocked. This sounds like crap! What’s with the piss poor guitar sound? Why is layered in that way? Sounds like trying to salvage a bad guitar tone by layering it on top of another poor tone.

Danzigs voice doesn’t even sound good, for the most part. Like on the ZZ-Top song Rough Boy or Aerosmiths Lord of the Thighs he sounds like Ian Gill did singing Paranoid in his short lived Black Sabbath stint. It’s just wrong somehow.

The songs more suited to his voice in my opinion are what salvages the whole album. Crying in the Rain originally by the Everly Brothers sounds ominous and cool, so does the song Satan which I wasn’t familiar with beforehand. Action Woman is also really cool, and far surpasses the original.

A surprisingly uneven album by Evil Elvis. It will not feature in my Danzig playlist … I think … oh maybe Satan will

Recommended downloads: Satan, Crying in the Rain, Action Woman

Doyle – Abominator (Monsterman Records 2013)

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Doyle Wolfgang van Frankenstein should be a familiar name to punk rockers, and to most metalheads with any kind of interest in Danzig or The Misfits. Doyle was the guitarist of the final days of the Danzig-lead Misfits and of the Michael Graves era. Wisely, I would say, he has not contributed to his brother’s (Jerry Only) rape of their common legacy, but that is another story. This is about the Annihilator-wielding monster guitarist Doyle.

 

To my knowledge, this is only the second release Doyle has put out after the split with the Misfits. His last effort came about through the intervention of Glenn Danzig and was perhaps never meant to be a real comeback for Doyle. However, the reviews were mixed and promotional efforts small, and nothing much came of Gorgeous Frankenstein. So this might be considered a second attempt.

 

The songwriting is reminiscent of both 90’s Misfits and Gorgeous Frankenstein. Short, energetic, sing / scream along horror punk. All the lyrics are horrible (see, I can make puns too), some are a bit too much for me personally; they are all guts, ghouls and sexual deviances of the macabre kind.

 

The vocals threw me a bit at first, Alex Storys vocals are bit grittier and more aggressive than Landon Blood (Gorgeous Frankenstein) and Michael Graves (the Misfits), both of whom have a more operatic approach. Bass duties are handled by “Left-Hand” Graham, the bass sound is deep and rumbling, and has proper bass-lines and not just pumping away like most punk bassist tend to do. The drums are manned by long-time collaborator Dr. Chud. But it is the sound of Doyle’s famous Annihilator signature guitar that dominates the sound.

 

Highlights are Abominator, Dreaming Dead Girls, CemetaryseXXX and Headhunter. Just the right amount of hilariousness and horror, and catchy as all hell (I did it again).

 

When this review was written no distribution deal has been announced, but both a digital version and CD version are available on Doyles official website http://www.officialdoyle.com/

 

Rating: 4/5